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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  May 22, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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it is thursday, may 22 and this is "now". >> you are not outraged. you are not paying attention. >> president getting blow back from folks in his own party. >> we are serious. >> the house veterans affairs committee voted to subpoena three top officials. >> reaction from veterans has been mixed. >> something has to happen and has to happen now. >> this is running the risk of look tone deaf. >> the president needs to show that there are going to be changes at the v.a. >> eric shinseki will have a private meeting. >> tell me what he has done in these six years. >> all of us are extremely upset. >> everyone will feel like that
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they did something. veterans will still continue to suffer. >> these are men and women who serve our country. we not just let them down, we let them die. it is a day of movement on multiple fronts in the growing crisis around the department of veterans affairs. a day after being summoned to the white house eric shinseki was back on capitol hill today to meet with senator durbin saying he pressed shinseki on veterans' treatment and wait times. president obama's deputy chief of staff is visiting the v.a. hospital in phoenix where the scandal over allegedly deadly wait times first broke. late yesterday the house passed legislation that would make it easier for the v.a. secretary to fire or demote senior employees. today house speaker boehner said he is getting closer to calling
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for shinseki's resignation asserting the problem is a systemic betrayal of nation's veterans. >> we not just let them down we let them die. this is awful stuff. >> while the mad as hell urgency is something even some democrats asked for from shinseki and president obama senator cast a smidge of skepticism in the name of veteran justice. >> if we go to war, if we spend trillions of dollars on that war that when our men and women come home from war, some wounded in body and spirit i don't want to hear people telling me it is too expensive to take care of those wounded veterans. >> all of which is to say where our vets are concerned there is no shortage of shame to go around. joining me now is washington
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post columnist eugene robinson and michael sherrer politico has an article. are we at that point? >> we are at the point where it has become a political debate and not really a debate over the situation at the v.a. the v.a. sees something like 230,000 people a day. it's an organization of 300,000 people. it's had its budget tripled over the last 13 years. there are problems there. the fact that there was fraud in the scheduling record is a total outrage and needs to be dealt with. but we move beyond that to the point where as long as we have knows the debate is no longer about actual issues and scheduling. it is about over how much
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political damage will be done. >> but this also is like a scandal ready made for the gop which has basically spent the last six years railing against government, the role of government, trying to trim government, down size, defund. here is a case study -- i'm not suggesting that we get rid of the v.a. health department. if you are a republican looking to make that argument it is all on the table for you. >> you know, this scandal is different because there is actual substance here. wrong stuff was done as opposed to benghazi and fast and furious. this administration has been in office for five years. and has done a lot at v.a. and has coped with a real influx of cases. but i think it is pretty clear by now that there is a problem. and so i think there is the
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political question does somebody get fired? but there is a programmatic problem with whether he could fix this. >> this is a story about health care in as much as it is about bureaucracy. the fact is there are not enough primary care doctors to see all veterans. we seem to have gotten away from that. republicans are using this as a chance to talk once again about the aca, the failures of this administration in terms of that rollout. it does seem to be a soft point. there is tender flesh there when we talk about management of the bureaucracy around health care. >> health care especially in this country is enormously expensive undertaking. there is no one figuring out how to do it economically and efficiently. we don't know yet the scope of the problems of the v.a. it is very possible this could
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be systemic and is much larger than a handful of operations and hundreds of patients. but we do know that the long term efforts to fix organization as large as this will not be solved in the next several weeks or month. this outrage, shinseki's fate will not decide whether or not the v.a. becomes totally fixed organization or patched together like we have now. this is going to be a long term problem. and the v.a. is going to continue to have problems. we have more veterans coming home. we have more economic demands than u.s. congress has been willing to appropriate for. you are dealing with a massive bureaucracy protected by rules that resist reform. >> i feel in some ways not just because of the aca stuff we are on a record that keeps skipping
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in so far as we started talking about the president and the fact he is not mad enough. 2010 robert gibbs says we have our boot on the throat of bp. the aca, the glitches, his signature rollout, the president is not mad enough. the president can't be madder than hell about something if he won't acknowledge that the thing actually occurred. this would be a good time for obama to knock heads but he is playing president passive. the thing about this president is he is just constitutionally not built that way. the criticism doesn't change. >> my understanding is that this president does get mad but is not demonstrative. i did think that dana made that interesting point why are you mad if you don't acknowledge that bad stuff has been happening? it seems there is a problem there.
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>> that bad stuff has been happening. >> and therefore it needs to be fixed. i think the president's appearance before the cameras did disappoint people, even people who realize don't expect him to chew the scenery and rend his clothing the way some people would like him to but what's happening? what is he going to do about it if it is bad enough for him to be mad about then isn't it bad enough to take steps about now? >> insofar as there is a danger in the white house under playing the anger around this there is danger of republicans overplaying their hand. there is talk about unwinding the veteran's administration health care program which is almost like socialized health care that is available to veterans and veterans only. today john mccain said he is
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working with senators on a private health option for veterans. this is also someone who proposed veterans care access card. i feel like -- i will take a page from brian. if conservatives want to use the v.a. scandal to make arguments about government liberals should take them head on. dismantling public programs, many of whom have worse track records will be poorly received. let's throw the baby out with the bath water. what does that do for republicans? >> i think we are a long way from seeing that happen. polls have shown the v.a. despite problems, it's pretty popular among veterans. even shinseki polls show veterans are not outraged at him. he has had successes in other
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parts of v.a. back logs and making progress since he has been in office. i think really what this is going to come down to is a few weeks of this sort of speculation. a report will come out and republicans will make gains in convincing the american people in a way that helps them in the mid term election. >> i think every time we start talking about the provision of health insurance and importance of making sure the sickest among us are cared for it returns republicans to really uncomfortable part of their platform which is they are not really in favor of that broadly speaking. of course, we believe we should take care of our veterans but the sort of larger logic of taking care of americans becomes problematic especially in the wake of decisions by republican governors not to expand medicaid in their states which has cost 250,000 more than a quarter million veterans access to basic
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health care. that hypocrisy is shown into shark relief. >> are you saying these are crocodile tunes? maybe that is the case. going back to the introwhen we talked about sacrifices on the alter of politics in washington sometimes there needs to be a sacrifice on the alter of politics in washington. and if only to head off that sort of ridiculous hypocritical line of attack. >> so do you think -- are you saying you think there needs to be a high profile firing from the white house? >> i actually believe there should be because i believe there is enough reason just on the systemic programmatic problems that we believe we know about in the v.a. and the fact that shinseki has been there for a while and
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doubts about whether he is the guy to fix it now. i could make an argument for political reasons it would be good for president obama and the democrats if shinseki were to spend more time with his family. >> eugene robinson, i see a pitch fork in your hand calling for shinseki's head. it is a very interesting different analysis from you guys. thank you for joining me. thanks for your time. after the break conservatives have a new recipe for courting middle class voters and mostly consists of a bunch of sweeteners. marge: you know, there's a more enjoyable way to get your fiber. try phillips fiber good gummies. they're delicious, and an excellent source of fiber to help support regularity. wife: mmmm husband: these are good! marge: the tasty side of fiber. from phillips.
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something called reform conservetism is sweeping the nation. what is reform conservetism? we got answers in room to grow, conservative reforms. it is a manifesto that the "new york times" says is aimed at giving a message. translation, a strategy to try to convince america that the gop doesn't only care about the rich. at an event promoting the launch of the manifesto house meteorology leader eric cantor took a stab at the true meaning of reform conservetism. >> it is about applying the conservative principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility and making sure that we peel back the reach of government. >> that sounds a lot like
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regular c regular curvef -- conservetism. >> one of the most important lessons ever is that diet mountain dew tastes almost as good as mountain dew. >> it is an important lesson. diet mountain dew tastes almost as good as regular mountain dew. take the old recipe and add artificial sweeteners and you have a crowd pleaser. could one say the same about reform conservetism? you could say the same thing. while the reform manifesto acknowledges that americans do not have a sense that conservatives offer a better shot of success than liberals the old ideas are a lot like the old ideas. the surest way is to limit
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regulation. replacing much of medicaid with tax credits is sound policy. policymakers should continue wrestling with the problem of out of wedlock child bearing. in some cases the new ideas aren't even old republican ideas. they are old democratic ideas like this one. conservatives should make the case for earned income tax credit. republicans oppose expanding earned income tax credit and are trying to cut it. the party in congress that supports an increase is the democratic party. so if you thought this recipe was any better for the country than the last one don't be fooled. the sweeteners are all fake. joining me now is howard dean. governor dean it is always good to talk to you especially when we are talking about republican poverty programs. let me start with the positive.
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on some level the fact that conservatives are not talking about benghazi is a good thing. at least they are trying to talk about policy. do you give them points for at least trying to push the conversation in the direction of reform? >> i give them points for knowing that their current course isn't going to work. the problem is they are horribly off message. they had 120 people go to american enterprise institute and talk about conservative economic policy. the problem is john boehner appointed a committee. people don't believe republicans are reasonable people. the pennsylvania voting restrictions have just been declared unconstitutional for the second time. north carolina, the most restrictive voting bill in the country. this is a party that thinks they can win by taking away the right to vote from a significant
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number of people. mississippi is about to outlaw abortion by making it impossible to have an abortion clinic. louisiana is not far behind. the problem is they can talk about this stuff all they want and still seem extreme. like the democratic party was judged by extremes in the 80s the republican party will be judged by extremes and haven't done much because they think they need the votes. >> on the subject of economic policy and the working and middle class, republicans do acknowledge they have a gulf to bridge. and i feel like their appointed ambassador for poverty, paul ryan. this is a man who said i have two roles. i'm chairman of the house budget committee and a house member representing wisconsin. i can't speak for everybody and put my stuff on the budget.
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my work on poverty is a separate thing. how long do you think paul ryan can say i care about poverty but i will not do anything about it there. but 69% of my cuts come from programs that help low-income. >> most people do not believe just because they had a conference that the republicans care about middle class people. their record is that they have the koch brothers financing these extreme campaigns all over the country undermining the democrats. they have to talk about all of this and rand everybody for themselves stuff and understand
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what it is like to actually not have much money and to need a break and be in a school system which is lousy and have the republicans cut the money. that's their problem. they can talk as much as they want. as ann richard said you can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig. >> i love when you take that phrase and return it to its rightful origins which is not sarah palin. >> in terms of the base and how far and how resonant these policies go with a group of folks who are so morally opposed to tax increases at any cost, what happens to the reformists? do they exist in the margins of the party while republicans charge ahead? do they get absorbed into the democratic party? where do these people go who want to increase the earned
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income tax credit? >> they do exist in the republican party. they have been drowned out and beaten into submission. dick lugar very well respected guy got it run out of the republican party. there are lots of people like that. there are sane people in the republican party but have been beaten to submission and scared and unelected. that is the problem. >> governor howard dean it is always great to see you. thanks for your time. >> thanks very much. as ukraine prepares for a key presidential vote a new round of violence kills more than a dozen soldiers. the details on that are next.
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propelled grenades and automatic weapons in the assault and later posed for tv cameras. the violence, the worst in recent weeks comes three days before ukraine is due to hold its presidential election. authorities admit it will be impossible to stage the vote in some areas of the country. some of the estimated 40,000 russian troops along the border has been seen withdrawing. a pentagon official cautions those who remain are still capable of operations. governor scott walker and chris christie share more than a republican bromanse. the stars share many of the same failed economic policies. all of that is next on "now."
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always call walker. in addition to praise on each other there was christie's 2012 visit to wisconsin in the midst of walker's heated recall campaign and then the date to the giants/packers game. the christie/walker bond runs deeper. like christie walker has taken a relatively progressive state and turned it into a right wing policy. he has seen the efforts met with disastrous results. walker took office in 2010 vowing to create 250,000 private sector jobs. >> 250,000 new jobs. that is my goal. 250,000 new jobs by the end of our first term in office. >> what does scott walker do to get there?
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stripped wisconsin public employees including school teachers of their ability to bargain. chris christie made rolling back pensions a hallmark. he has singled out school teachers in some cases physically as a source of the problem. scott walker passed a tax cut that blew an $825 million hole in the wisconsin budget, one that largely benefitted the top 1% of wisconsin. over in jersey christie faces an $800 million budget gap going into the end of the fiscal year, his solution? tax cuts, $600 million worth of them. what about the jobs? with less than five months before the end of the term how is scott walker doing on the goal of his? >> 250,000 new jobs. that's my goal. >> so far governor walker has created less than half of that. as of january wisconsin ranked 9 out of 10 in private sector job
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growth. new jersey is dead last in job growth in the entire country. while christie has two more years to inflict fiscal pain scott walker only has a guarantee until november. a new poll finds walker in a dead heat. joining me now is washington correspondent for the nation and associate editor for the times. for someone running on his stellar election record shouldn't scott walker -- a stellar economic record shouldn't he have a stellar economic record? >> you would certainly think so. the thing about scott walker is he has tried very, very hard to adjust expectations in the last few months suggesting that people will give him credit for trying. but the funny thing is that the same republicans who give barack obama no credit for trying on
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the economy are going to have a pretty hard time making excuses for a governor who has managed wisconsin, once a real leader of job growth into the lower half and in some cases much lower than that sector of the 50 states. >> you know scott walker hates seeing the video of him saying 250,000 jobs. now he is using a new number which is 17,000 new businesses have emerged in the state ready to hire. if you dig deeper into the numbers that new business count includes hundreds of nonprofit organizations including boy scouts troops, youth athletic leagues and condo associations. it is so desperate it is almost beyond pathoes. >> it really is. this is the challenge for scott walker. he is a hyperconfident politician. because he won the recall i think he got into his head that
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he was pretty much safe. he had nailed it for wisconsin and began campaigning very aggressively to get himself positioned as a presidential candidate for 2016. the trouble is that back in wisconsin he really took his eye off the ball even more in the last year or so than before. it ended up with a situation where in many months wisconsin's job growth is just a disaster. and the new numbers come out and they just don't give him the sort of boost that a governor seeking reelection is looking for. >> if you look back it has been blatantly awful. in kansas where governor brownback was up for reelection revenue down 45%. there is $92 million short of projections. in jersey chris christie blown an over $800 million hole in the
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budget. they are almost last in the nation in terms of job growth. meanwhile in neighboring minnesota if you are looking at wisconsin they have raised taxes by $2.1 billion and it is now the fifth fastest growing state economy in the country. i don't understand the discrepancy here. there is hard evidence proving these fiscal policies are not working and yet there is no change in conservative economic thinking. >> it is a real challenge. these people sort of downloaded a theory about austerity. they lied to themselves and convinced it is a workable economic approach. now they won the 2010 election wave that brought a lot of republicans in. and they just went forward with this austerity agenda. but what we are starting to see from states across the country is powerful evidence that governors who took charge of their states adjusted tax
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policies to get more revenues really focused on growth are doing very, very well. the notable thing is that in the upper midwest of the ten states against which wisconsin is measured nine of them are doing better than wisconsin. this isn't just a democrat/republican split. it is a split between those who believe in the fantasy of austerity economics versus those who accept the reality that you have to invest. >> mary burke is an unknown/known depending on what part of the metaphor you want. the fact she is running neck and neck with scott walker is not great news for scott walker. wisconsin is the most polarized state in the country. i believe that walker has a 92% approval rate among republicans and a 9% approval rate among democrats. it is sharply divided. what happens in this election?
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>> what happens in this election begins to be told now. the story unfolds. scott walker has just gotten a poll that says he is in a tie. that is going to send shock waves through republicans not just in wisconsin but nationally. they move a lot of money to start to attack. mary burke has attracted a lot of interest, as well. so i think you are going to start to see that wisconsin governor's race move way up the ladder along with other states that get a lot of focus. there is no question scott walker would like to run for president. the thing is 67% of wisconsinites say they don't want him to do so. >> it will be very interesting. it is an indictment of the gop's bench if both christie and walker are taken out in the next few months. thank you for your time. coming up, some children grow up in homes patrolled by
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helicopter parents or dominated by tiger moms and then there is today show and morning joe host willie geist raised by bill geist and in the category all of his own. i will talk with willie about life in the geist home and his new book "good talk dad" just ahead. marge: you know, there's a more enjoyable way to get your fiber. try phillips fiber good gummies. they're delicious, and an excellent source of fiber to help support regularity. wife: mmmm husband: these are good! marge: the tasty side of fiber. from phillips. i got this. [thinking] is it that time? the son picks up the check? [thinking] i'm still working. he's retired. i hope he's saving. i hope he saved enough. who matters most to you says the most about you.
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accidental family trips to the nude beach, summers at a camp run by exgang members, a front yard filled with life size fiberglass cow. this, america, was the upbringing for msnbc and "today"
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show host willie geist. in their new book "good talk, dad the birds and bees and other conversations we forgot to have" bill and willie tackle the chats they never got around to. willie writes a dad is supposed to send his kid to camp. mine did, kind of. a dad is supposed to talk to his son about the birds and bees and value of a dollar and responsible drinking. my dad and i had most of those talks, some of them, well, none of those talks. better late than never. joining me now is co-host and co author of good talk, dad. i'm so thrilled that you are here to talk about this. >> good to be back in the garage. >> the asbestos hasn't killed me yet. how did you come around to writing the book?
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did it dawn on you in conversation that you didn't have the same life lessons that everybody else had and wanted to write a book about it? >> a lot of people when you are living it and growing up it feels normal. we had this big ceramic cow on a small like a third of an acre lot. it was the thing that you noticed about our house. in our dining room we had a bust of elvis on a plant stand. my dad was a fan of steak and shake which is like a greasy restaurant. the art in our dining room was the framed stock photographs of the food. we had the cheese burger and the fries, the three kinds of milk shakes and chili. i go to other houses and am like you have poor taste in art. >> the stories themselves we could do three hours of television alone on the amount of sort of humiliating and
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embarrassing and clearly character building anecdotes. i had a nose bleed at my first communion and i thought that was humiliating enough. you were baptized at 19. >> my dad and my parents always had good intentions but we did it in our own way. one day it dawned on them that i hadn't been baptized. >> how did it dawn on them? >> i think one of the other parents brought it up like was he baptized here and they were like he is not baptized. on a sunday morning i got up there hung over as the day is long, 6'4", 215 pounds. it was me and all of the mothers cradling their sweet infants. the pastor came by and put the holy water on each baby. he got to me and i had to bend down. i always say it is a good thing my religion isn't full aquatic
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submersion. i would have had to do a canon ball. >> this is endlessly fascinating, your summer camp run by gang members. it's so well written. matt and i arrived at camp carson in that summer of '88 as boys and left as young men whose souls had been darkened by four weeks in the joint. we were like tim robins and morgan freeman. not your typical camp experience. >> this is my dad trying to do the right thing. his dad never sent his son to summer camp. we go to new hampshire and there is a lake and identify leaves and make things out of tongue depressers. what he didn't see in the fine print was that all of the counselors at the camp were in the process of being reformed
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nonviolent gang offenders. turned out they were a little more violent. they slashed each other's tires in the parking lot. one was sleeping with the nurse at the camp. you could never get a band aid because they were always taking care of business. there was a lot of territory for the one nurse at the camp. at one point there was an outbreak of impet go. they stripped us down nude and lined us against the wall and power washed us. i still have a scar on my arm 25 years later from the disease. i don't think that is in the new england journal of medicine. it was like just hose you down and get you out. >> when you came back and said it wasn't camp, it was a gulag what did he say to that? >> he said i saved $50 on that camp.
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you get what you paid for. >> you are a dad. in writing this book and thinking about parenting lessons there is a lot of parenting wisdom. we talked about helicopter parents. what kind of dad are you these days given the upbringing you had and the environment in which people are raising children? >> i think you take the good things from your parents and leave a few things behind. my wife and i i think we are good parents. if your kids aren't listening to you you have to turn to someone who they actually might respect. my son, george, who is 4 worships the new york police. every so often we walk by. when he is good we go in and the cops are great and give him a patch and he feels like he is one of the cops. every once in a while he hits his sister and we are like george we have to take you downtown. >> do you put him in a squad car? >> we have taken him to see the
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jail. they are like you can see the jail. like show him the jail. >> you need to show him the hose wall. >> so we walk george in and the cop comes out and they play along. they have the gun and the badge. officer george hit his sister. the cop goes don't hit your sister. george is literally like back pedaling. his hero has judged him. that gets us like a month of good behavior. >> he knows where it is now. >> let me ask you one more question having embarked on this adventure with your dad your reminisce and think about father/son relations and you have a son. what do you think the key to a positive and healthy father/son relationship is, one where you can send him and still write a
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memoir. >> we didn't sit and have the big talks. he didn't need to. he created a fun, happy place. that is the best you can do as a parent. you had to be a little funny and smart to hang in. for us it was good enough. >> well, the big leagues here. >> willie, it is an awesome book not just because of the hi larity and the heart but because there are a boat load of blackmailable photos of you. >> i had anthony michael hall phase that lasted about seven years. >> that is straight hall right there. >> that is "16 candles" hall right there. >> author of "good talk, dad". coming up after the break it is one of the worst water contamination incidents in u.s.
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history. it happened months ago and effects are still being felt. i'll tell you where it is next on "now". ameriprise asked people a simple question: can you keep your lifestyle in retirement? i don't want to think about the alternative. i don't even know how to answer that. i mean, no one knows how long their money is going to last. i try not to worry, but you worry. what happens when your paychecks stop? because everyone has retirement questions. ameriprise created the exclusive confident retirement approach. to get the real answers you need. start building your confident retirement today.
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when we arrived at our hotel in new york, the porter was so incredibly careful careless with our bags. and the room they gave us, it was beautiful. a broom closet. but the best part, / worst part, was the shower. my wife drying herself with the egyptian cotton towels, shower curtain defined that whole vacation for her. don't just visit new york. visit tripadvisor new york. with millions of reviews, a visit to tripadvisor makes any destination better. peoi go to angie's listt for all kinds of reasons. to gauge whether or not the projects will be done in a timely fashion and within budget. angie's list members can tell you which provider is the best in town. you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare. now that we're expecting, i like the fact i can go onto angie's list and look for pediatricians. the service providers that i've found on angie's list actually have blown me away. find out why more than two million members count on angie's list. angie's list -- reviews you can trust.
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it has been 4 1/2 months since a massive chemical spill in west virginia. for weeks residents couldn't drink from faucets and couldn't bathe or cook. more than four months later a lot of people are still not drinking water. only 36% of residents surveyed were drinking tap water. for the west virginia residents drinking what was coming out of the faucets it was making them sick. 32% of people surveyed said someone in the household felt ill after drinking tap water. more than 25% said symptoms
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including rashes and nausea and dizziness were told before. the most disturbing is what was happening behind the walls of the south central jail in charleston. yesterday think progress publiced an investigation detailing conditions of inmates in the overcrowded jail. inmates said they were given about 70 ounces less than they should have been drinking. because they were so dehydrated inmates often had to resort to contaminated tap water. months after the water supply continued to smell like licorice. west virginia has been host to coal burning and chemical plants. perhaps it is time to reconsider the invitation. that is all for now. i will see you back here
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tomorrow. "the ed show" is coming up next. welcome live from new york. big oil and big lies. i'm ready to go. let's get to work. leaking tank repaired with duct tape and a garbage bag. >> rather than leaving the fluid to drip on the ground. >> stash away the duct tape. >> you took a picture of someone who was -- >> houston, what do we do? >> we take a garbage bag and fix it and keep it from leaking and you are still unhappy. >> i'm helping. >> some guy took initiative. >> anybody can come, a storm can come, can punch in a garbage bag. >> i love the great outdoors. >> that is oil. >> i am not giving weapons to shoot back at.
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